39 Fla. L. Weekly D2010a
finding firefighter’s coronary artery disease and hypertension compensable or in
awarding authorization to treat these conditions — “Disability” was established
by medical evidence that claimant was restricted from working because of his
need for heart catheterization and that the catheterization was because of his
hypertension and CAD
MANAGEMENT, Appellant, v. JOHNNY BATTLE, Appellee. 1st District. Case No.
1D14-1040. Opinion filed September 19, 2014. An appeal from an order of the
Judge of Compensation Claims. Ralph J. Humphries, Judge. Date of Accident:
December 11, 2012. Counsel: Michael Arington of Eraclides, Gelman, Hall, Indek,
Goodman & Waters, Jacksonville, for Appellants. John J. Schickel of Coker,
Schickel, Sorenson & Posgay, P.A., Jacksonville, Bryan S. Gowdy and Jennifer
Shoaf Richardson of Creed and Gowdy, P.A., Jacksonville, for Appellee.
(the City) appeals an order from the Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC) finding
compensable Appellee/Claimant’s hypertension and coronary artery disease (CAD),
and awarding authorization of Dr. Castello to treat these conditions. We affirm.
rely on section 112.18, Florida Statutes (2012), which reads:
(1)(a) Any condition or impairment of health of any Florida state,
municipal, county, port authority, special tax district, or fire control
district firefighter or any law enforcement officer or correctional officer as
defined in s. 943.10(1), (2), or (3) caused by tuberculosis, heart disease, or
hypertension resulting in total or partial disability or death shall be presumed
to have been accidental and to have been suffered in the line of duty unless the
contrary be shown by competent evidence. However, any such firefighter or law
enforcement officer must have successfully passed a physical examination upon
entering into any such service as a firefighter or law enforcement officer,
which examination failed to reveal any evidence of any such condition. . .
condition or impairment of health” for a claimant who meets the statutory
prerequisites. The parties here stipulated to all prerequisites except
disability; Claimant is a firefighter, Claimant has hypertension and heart
disease, and Claimant successfully passed a physical examination which failed to
reveal any evidence of hypertension or heart disease.
cardiac catheterization, which occurred on December 11, 2012. The record shows
that due to an abnormal stress test, Claimant was medically required to undergo
catheterization to treat and diagnose Claimant’s CAD.1 The procedure ended up being solely diagnostic (no
stent was placed, although it could have been if determined necessary during the
procedure). This catheterization, which Claimant was required to undergo as a
result of the CAD and hypertension, confirmed that Claimant indeed has CAD, but
did not result in any abnormal complications. Claimant was taken off work by a
doctor for three days following the catheterization in order to recover from the
procedure; had he not undergone the procedure, his hypertension and CAD would
not have prevented him from working at that time.
findings, that the catheterization “was directly related to [Claimant’s] CAD and
hypertension,” and that Claimant could not work during the procedure or for
several days afterward in order to heal from the catheterization. To the extent
the City challenges any inferences the JCC drew to make these findings, we see
which Claimant could not work (during and after the catheterization) constitutes
disability for the purposes of section 112.18. The JCC analogized this case to
Rocha v. City of Tampa, 100 So. 3d 138 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012), wherein Mr.
Rocha’s abnormal stress test resulted in his doctor-imposed work restrictions
until he could undergo a cardiac assessment, associated with his hypertension.
This court held Mr. Rocha had proven disability because his work restrictions
were “legitimately imposed as medically necessary ‘because of the injury,’ ” and
“created actual incapacity by interfering with his ability ‘to earn in the same
or any other employment the wages which the employee was receiving at the time
of the injury.’ ” 100 So. 3d at 141-42.
law, and that the analogous case is instead Bivens v. City of Lakeland,
993 So. 2d 1100, 1103 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008), wherein Mr. Bivens had not produced
any evidence that his heart disease affected his ability to perform his job
duties. In Bivens, this court concluded that there was no disability —
and thus no entitlement to the section 112.18 presumption — despite “that [Mr.
Bivens] missed one day of work due to a doctor’s appointment, he later missed
six days after a heart catheterization, and on a third occasion missed several
hours for a stress test.” 993 So. 2d at 1103.
“no work restrictions were ever placed on Claimant when he was being evaluated
or diagnosed with [heart disease.]” Id. In contrast, in the instant case
there is medical evidence that Claimant was restricted from working because of
the catheterization, and that the catheterization was because of his
hypertension and CAD, which is analogous to the facts in Rocha.
112.18, which is evidence of legislative intent to include recovery from
invasive treatment and testing such as this: specifically, the statute’s first
words broadly describe “[a]ny condition or impairment of
health . . . caused by” heart disease or hypertension (or tuberculosis) and
“resulting in total or partial disability or death.” § 112.18(1)(a), Fla. Stat.
(emphasis added). Here, because the “impairment of health” created by the
catheterization in Claimant’s case was both caused or brought about by a listed
disease (two, in fact) and resulted in work restrictions, it — as well as the
listed disease — “shall be presumed to have been accidental and to have been
suffered in the line of duty.” Thus, we affirm.
sedation, involve gaining access through either the femoral artery or the right
radial artery, and result in medical orders to avoid soaking the wound or heavy
lifting for several days after the procedure.
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